Impressive renewable energy developments in Australia

In late 2014 the Abbott Government is doing its best to cripple Australia's renewable energy industry and to keep alive the dying coal industry, but, in spite of this, there are some great renewable energy projects either in place or under development.

This page was correct as far as I know in early December 2014. It has not been kept up to date after that time.

In what follows I have listed the hydro, solar, and wind energy, in alphabetical order; within the solar and wind sections the states are also listed in alphabetical order.

Written 2014/12/12, minor editing 2021/09/04
Contact: David K Clarke – ©


Government policy

South Australia and the rest


Renewable energy in Australia 2018

Renewable energy made up 14% of Australia's electricity supply in 2018, and most of that was hydro-power that was several decades old.
Before the scheduled March 2018 election the SA Government announced a new target of 75% renewable electricity for the state by 2025; at the time about 50% of SA's electricity was being generated by renewables. Fifteen years earlier SA had near zero renewable energy. (SA and Tasmania were much smaller energy users than the other states.)

It is arguable whether the SA government is responsible for the outstanding rate of renewable energy developments in the state or whether they just allowed it to happen. What can be said in favour of the SA governments from at least 2003 to 2018 is that they have never stood in the way of renewable energy development while most other state governments (while in the hands of Liberal-National coalitions) have at one time or another been strongly opposed; and, of course, the Federal Coalition government has a consistent record of supporting fossil fuels at the expense of renewables.

Australian Capital Territory

The outstanding government in Australian is quite definitely that of the Australian Capital Territory which has a target of 90% renewable energy by 2020.

This is particularly meaningful because the target date is only five years away; a target of 2025 or 2030 means little to a government because they tend to think and plan only one term toward the future.

The ACT government has contracted three wind farms to generate power toward the target by 2017 (this section was written 2015/02/07). The 200MW of installed capacity contracted is expected to meet about a third of the ACT's 2020 electricity needs.


As of 2018 Tasmania had around 90% renewable electricity, by far the greatest part of this being hydro-power from developments that were several decades old.

Hydro power

Not many dams have been built in recent decades. Many of the places best suited for hydro-power dams have already been used and large dams cause major environmental damage.

However, run-of-river hydro systems are about as environmentally friendly as any hydro-power scheme can be and there is scope for more run-of-river installations in Australia.

Tomlin's visionary hydro scheme:

A small part of the Tomlin's hydro scheme
Tomlin's hydro
Photo credit ABC Landline

Nigel Tomlin his and son, Josh, who are farmers in southern Tasmania, are working on a visionary 2 GWh/year hydro scheme. They have already built a 100 MWh/year run-of-the-river hydro scheme on the Jones River near Ellendale, they know what they are doing.

The Abbott Government's anti-renewable policies will make any more imaginative and innovative run-of-river hydro schemes such as the Tomlin's unlikely in the foreseeable future.

Snowy mountains compared to Tasmanian hydro

Installed capacityAnnual generation Capacity factor
Snowy hydro 3.8GW 4.5TWh 13.5%
Tasmanian hydro2.6GW9.0TWh 39.5%

The figures for installed capacity and annual generation above are from Wikipedia, I calculated the capacity factor from the other figures. Note that the Tasmanian hydro installations are far more utilised than are the Snowy hydro installations.

The main difference would be in that Tasmania's hydro power stations provide most of Tasmania's electricity needs while the Snowy only provides power in time of high demand and high wholesale prices(?)

Solar power

Also see Solar power in Australia (2): recent significant developments in solar power in Australia.

Solar PV power capacity in Australia, 2001 to 2014
Solar power in Australia
Graph credit Australian PV Institute
As shown in the graph on the right total solar PV installations in Australia toward the end of 2014 were near 4GW. Of this about 3.5GW was small-scale roof-top.

The biggest solar installations in each state

Biggest solar power installation in each state
Biggest solar by states
Graph created 2014/12/13
In this section I have concentrated on the biggest solar power installations in each state. New South Wales is easily the front runner in late 2014, although the Australian Capital Territory is doing very well in relation to its small size. South Australia (my state) is the leader in household solar PV installations per capita.

The annual generation figures below and on the right are based on a capacity factor of 18%.

The Nyngan and Broken Hill projects shown on the graph are, at the time of writing, under construction. Queensland's Kogan Creek Solar Boost, mentioned below, cannot be plotted on the graph because it does not generate electricity; it is also still under construction.

Australian Capital Territory


Royalla Solar Farm
Image credit, ABC. Artist's impression
The 20MW Royalla solar farm was opened on 2014/09/03. It is about 17km south of Canberra.

At the time if writing (December, 2014) this is the largest solar power station in Australia (which is pathetic by world standards).

The ACT is the most progressive of the states and teritories of Australia in that it has a policy for 90% renewable energy by 2020. This solar farm is the first of several planned in the ACT.

NameInstalled capacityAnnual generation

New South Wales

NSW is well ahead of the other states in big solar power developments in late 2014 and will remain so for at least a year because of the Nyngan and Broken Hill developments.

Lake Cargelligo

Google Earth image
Lake Cargelligo
NSW, Latitude -33.3115°, Longitude 146.4097°
Click on the image to view full size; use your browser's back arrow to come back to this page after viewing.
NameInstalled capacityAnnual generation
L. Cargelligo3MW4.7GWh


NSW; Liddell solar booster

Liddell solar boosters
New and old
In October 2012, 9.3MW concentrating solar thermal came into operation at the Liddell coal fired power station in NSW Hunter Valley. The installation provides a 'steam boost' for the power station.

This is the second, or even third, phase of solar thermal installations at the Liddell Power Station.

Thanks to Bill Gresham for this.

NSW; Nyngan, proposed

Nyngan solar
An artist's impression on the Nyngan solar power station
Image credit: AGL

NameInstalled capacityAnnual generation
Nyngan102MW 161GWh

Construction started in early 2014, completion is due by June 2015.
When completed this will be by far the biggest solar power station in Australia.

I have a drone photo of Nygan Solar Farm when completed on another page on this site.

NSW; Broken Hill, proposed

Broken Hill solar
An artist's impression on the Broken Hill solar power station
Image credit: AGL

NameInstalled capacityAnnual generation
Broken Hill 53MW84GWh

Construction started in July 2014, completion is due by November 2015.

I have a drone photo of the Broken Hill Solar Farm after completion an another page on this site.


Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project

Quoting from the Wikipedia article:
"The project involves the installation of a CLFR [compact linear fresnel reflector] solar thermal system capable of generating 44 MW electrical at peak solar conditions. Steam from the solar field is first further heated and then used to power the intermediate pressure turbine, thereby displacing coal. The project will reduce carbon emissions by about 35,000 tonnes per year, which is 0.8% of emissions, at a cost of only A$3 per tonne of carbon for the first year's emissions alone."
Work started on the project in 2011, but "difficulties with the project and commercial issues mean that it will now not be commissioned until 2015."

NameInstalled capacityExpected abatement
Kogan Creek 44MW35,000t/yr

It is interesting that Queensland's biggest solar power installation will not generate electricity but will rather serve as an adjunct to a coal-fired power station.

Queensland does have plans for a sizable solar photovoltaic installation, the Valdora Solar Farm (10MW) proposed for the Sunshine Coast in 2015.

South Australia

South Australia has very little large-scale solar compared to several of the other states. However, what it lacks in large-scale solar it more than makes up for in small-scale roof-top solar and particularly wind power.

Goyder Pavillion, Wayville Showgrounds

NameInstalled capacityAnnual generation



Carwarp Solar Farm
Carwarp solar
Google Earth image; downloaded 2013/02/28
ReNewEconomy carried an article on 2013/08/17 noting that this "power plant was officiall opened today", and gave the installed capacity as 1.5MW.

Solar Systems' pdf page on the project stated that it was expected to cost about $1 million, have an installed capacity of 2 MW, and generate 4 to 4.5 GWh per annum.

NameInstalled capacityAnnual generation
As mentioned elsewhere, the annual generation here is based on an assumed capacity factor of 18%.


Western Australia

Greenhough River

Google Earth image
Lake Cargelligo
Click on the image to view full size; use your browser's back arrow to come back to this page after viewing.

NameInstalled capacityAnnual generation
Greenhough River10MW15.8GWh

CORENA: Citizen's Own Renewable Energy Network Australia

CORENA is an inovative crowd-funding group who collect public donations and use the money to install solar PV systems to deserving organisations. The money involved is treated like a loan and is gradually paid back out of the savings in power bills.

At the time of writing (2014/01/02) three projects have been funded and installed.

Updated 2016/04/06

Sundrop Farm, Port Augusta

First (pilot) Stage

Initial solar power collector
Photo taken 2013/05/12
I've placed a piece about the second (main) stage on another page.
This is a very innovative project that uses solar power and saline water to grow vegetables in an arid environment.

The first stage was built around 2012. A much bigger second stage, 40 MW, was built in (?) early 2017.

Links: ABC article, Sundrop Farms

The outstanding point of this development is its innovation. This is the only such development in Australia, and possibly in the world. While Sundrop Farms has offices in London, Dubai and Adelaide, they have only the one farm near Port Augusta.

An partial explanation of how it works was televised on the ABC's Catalyst science program back in 2013. There's another article, by John Mathews, February 2014, on The Conversation. Neither of these explain in any detail how the whole thing works and both refer mainly to the first, pilot scale, operation.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (which the anti-renewable anti-environment Abbott/Turnbull government has attempted to close down) has helped find finance for this innovative enterprise.

Second (main) Stage

Image date 2016/03/14
Sundrop Farm
Under construction

The Sundrop Farms Net site provides quite a bit of information, they also have a Facebook page.

Danish company, Aalborg CSP built the solar power system for Sundrop, as of 2018/07/31 they had a very good video on YouTube explaining how it works.

Solar electric car charging stations

Electric car charging station at The Macadamia Castle
Solar power system
Image credit: Margaret Burin and the ABC.
Tony Gilding owns The Macadamia Castle.
In early December 2014 there were announcements of "the first solar powered electric car charging station in Australia". One contender for this distinction is The Macadamia Castle (photo on the rignt); more information on it is available from the ABC.

However, it seems that the distinction may actually belong to Kangaroo Island. It appears that the KI solar installations and car-charging stations are integrated into the local power grid. This means that power generated by the solar panels that is excess to that needed for charging electric cars can be used rather than going to waste.

Tesla have announced that they are considering setting up a network of solar powered car charging stations in Australia, 2014/10/31.

Kangaroo Island's solar and electric cars

Echidna found on side of road to Cape Du Couedic.
KI is known for its wildlife and scenery.
Remarkable Rocks
Remarkable Rocks, KI
Snelling Beach
Snelling Beach, KI
Kangaroo Island (about 100km south of Adelaide) has what is quite probably the first solar-powered electric car charging stations in Australia. (Both the solar PV installations and the car-charging stations are integrated into the local power grid. This means that the full capacity of the solar can be used and there will always be power at the car-charging stations.)

I inquired of the Kangaroo Island Council and received the following email from Andrew Boardman, Chief Executive Officer, in reply...

We have 6 stations – two at the Airport, 1 in each of the main Townships (Kingscote, Parndana, American River and Penneshaw). We have two fixed private charging sockets at Kingscote Offices and one at the Kingscote Works Depot. The airport has 50KW of tracking solar (4 x 12.5KW stations); the Kingscote Office has 15KW of fixed roof solar and the Kingscote depot has 5KW fixed roof solar contributing to demand. All our electricity sold through the Charge-point infrastructure is "green" power. All of this infrastructure was installed in 2013.

We have three Nissan Leaf EV's – one used by Council and 2 leased out to a local car hire company who hire them out to the public (from the airport) – currently $60/day as opposed to the normal $110/day for a petrol car. We retail charges through these station – $16 for a full 25KW charge. Since installing the infrastructure three Community Members have bought EV's (all three Mitsubishi I-Mievs) and we have had EV tourists come over from the mainland with their vehicles – just proving that if you build it they will come!!

Those people visiting Kingscote on business or the like are starting to use them a lot. Council have also just leased two Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV's which access the charging infrastructure as well. The PHEV work better for us as the Island is 150km long and to go west of Parndana is an issue as there are no chargers out this way – and a mains network that is too "skinny" to install chargers down there. I would like to build some combined solar / wind [KI has huge wind power potential] / battery / chargers / grid connect stations down that end of the Island with a view of getting into smart grid and using the infrastructure to mitigate demand in the grid as well as be development nodes. Need money and some partners to play with though.

Have had some interesting conversations with Flinders Uni who are considering roof solar and changing some of their fleet over to EV. Also with GEITS with their floating solar options for bodies of water such as our Community wastewater treated water storage lagoons and TINDO with their potential install for free and buy power back through a power purchase agreement.

We're in the process of talking to Tesla about their entry to the market – their range and the new X model AWD would be ideal for our situation and we think we could move the specialist high tour providers currently using Mercs / Land Rover / Land Cruiser 4WD or Vans could move to these. Particularly if we pursue the supercharger format coupled to neighbourhood smart grid and renewables.

We have 19,000ha of maturing bluegum on the island without a commercial home as yet – we are hoping this will mobilise in the next couple of years and this might open up some significant biomass-derived opportunities for heat / power / fuels – we use 6M litres of diesel on the Island – 1.8M by two ferries running between us and the mainland – I would really like to get these on fully synthetic diesel derived from the bluegums...

It seems that the KI council is very progressive. It is a pity that our federal government isn't equally so.

Wind power

Biggest wind farms in each state
Biggest wind farms by states
Graph created 2014/12/14
In this section I have concentrated mainly on the biggest wind farms in each state.

The annual generation figures below and on the right are based on the weighted average capacity factor for SE Australian wind farms (35%).

New South Wales

Gullen Range?

NameNumber of TurbinesInstalled capacityAnnual generation
Gullen Range 73165.5MW507GWh


Windy Hill

Windy Hill
Photo thanks to Wayne Roddom, Darwin
Windy Hill Wind Farm was one of the earliest in Australia, being built in the year 2000. It is about one fourteenth the size of Gullen Range (NSW) or Musselroe (Tas.) wind farms.

No wind farms have been built in Queensland since 2000, although several have been proposed.

NameNumber of TurbinesInstalled capacityAnnual generation
Windy Hill 2012MW37GWh

South Australia

South Australia is the leading state in wind power, having about 45% of Australia's total.

Mid North SA has more that half of the state's wind power and 25% of the nation's wind power. Mid North SA is probably the first region in Australia to be carbon-negative.

Snowtown, two stages

The completed Snowtown Wind Farm, first and second stages; 2014/06/11
Snowtown 1 + 2
Click on the image to view full size; use your browser's back arrow to come back to this page after viewing.

NameNumber of TurbinesInstalled capacityAnnual generation
Snowtown 138371MW1137GWh

Ceres; proposed

NameNumber of TurbinesInstalled capacityAnnual generation
Ceres 197670MW?2050GWh




NameNumber of TurbinesInstalled capacityAnnual generation
Musselroe 56168MW515GWh



Macarthur turbines
A few of the Macarthur wind turbines

NameNumber of TurbinesInstalled capacityAnnual generation
Macarthur 140420MW1288GWh

Western Australia


A small part of Collgar Wind Farm – while under construction
Collgar Wind Farm
Photo taken April 26, 2011
Image credit Diana House
NameNumber of TurbinesInstalled capacityAnnual generation
Collgar 111206MW632GWh


Power to (hydrogen) gas trials in SA

What is happening in Australia in 2018

In Australia all the action on renewable-energy-to-gas development seems to be happening in South Australia and seems to be confined to using renewably generated electricity to hydrogen.

Hydrogen can be used to produce methane, ammonia or biogas, but there seems to be no action on this in Australia on a pilot or larger scale.

Renewable energy to hydrogen proposals/developments


A page on the subject

On 2018/05/02 I wrote a separate page on Power to gas (P2G) as it was developing in Australia.
Nick Harmsen posted an article on ABC on-line news on 2017/08/08. It described a trial to convert excess electricity to hydrogen gas using electrolysis to take place in Kidman Park, Adelaide in 2018.

South Australia has more wind power than any other Australian state, but consumes far less electricity than the more populous states. The interconnectors between SA and the eastern states have limited capacity to export excess power when the wind farms are in full production, so there are times when electricity is available at zero price. The trial will look into the practicality of converting some of this excess electricity into hydrogen gas and injecting it into the existing gas distribution network where it will mix with the natural gas. The article stated that there is no problem mixing up to at least 10 percent of hydrogen in natural gas.

Second power-to-gas trial announced


There's more

Renewable energy to hydrogen plants are also proposed for Port Lincoln and Crystal Brook Energy Park, both in South Australia.
(This section added May 2018)

While PM Turnbull puts lipstick on a pig

PM Turnbull has given $50m of our money to a pilot plant to turn 160 tonnes of Victorian brown coal into 3 tonnes of hydrogen. The great advantage of hydrogen as a fuel is that when burned nothing but steam is released; but if a huge amount of coal is burned to produce the hydrogen, where is the point?
Sophie Vorrath wrote a piece for Renew Economy on 2018/02/21.
"South Australia is set to host its second hydrogen production and distribution facility, with the construction of a 1.25MW Siemens electrolyser that will produce hydrogen using electricity from the grid and potentially on-site solar."

"The hydrogen produced by the Tonsley-based power-to-gas demonstration plant – to be known as Hydrogen Park SA (HyP SA) – will be injected into AGIG’s local gas network."
This had been announced by the SA Premier the same day.


This is the sort of innovation that Australia needs as we change from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Prime Minister Turnbull has promised innovation, but his government has been very backward in actually supporting innovation.

Power to gas links

On this page

Hydrogen and energy: the production and uses, and advantages and disadvantages, of hydrogen as a fuel

Power to gas (P2G) in Australia

External links

Wikipedia, Power-to-Gas

Renewable Power-to-Gas: A technological and economic review; Manuel Götza, Jonathan Lefebvreb, Friedemann Mörsa, Amy McDaniel Koch, Frank Graf, Siegfried Bajohr, Rainer Reimer, Thomas Kolb; Elsevier Renewable Energy, Volume 85, January 2016.